Talk show host says charitable work helps 'fill maternal fold'
Oprah Winfrey says she does not have any regrets over deciding to not marry or have children.
The 65-year-old talk show host has been in a relationship with long-time partner Stedman Graham for 33 years.
And, despite getting engaged in 1992, the couple have never tied the knot or expanded their family.
Speaking to People magazine, Winfrey revealed that while she did consider becoming a mother following Graham’s proposal, she felt it was the one job she might not be cut out for.
“At one point in Chicago I had bought an additional apartment because I was thinking, ‘Well, if we get married, I’m going to need room for children,'” Winfrey said.
The philanthropist added that much of the reason she decided against having children was because she witnessed “the depth of responsibility and sacrifice that is actually required to be a mother” during her years on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
“I realised, ‘Whoa, I’m talking to a lot of messed-up people, and they are messed up because they had mothers and fathers who were not aware of how serious that job is,'” Winfrey said.
“I don’t have the ability to compartmentalise the way I see other women do. It is why, throughout my years, I have had the highest regard for women who choose to be at home [with] their kids, because I don’t know how you do that all day long.
“Nobody gives women the credit they deserve.”
Winfrey continued by explaining why she and Graham decided to remain engaged for so long, admitting that she believes things “would have changed” if they had got married.
“I used to think about this all the time, that I was working these 17-hour days, and so were my producers, and then I go home and I have my two dogs and I have Stedman, who’s letting me be who I need to be in the world," she said.
“He’s never demanding anything from me like, ‘Where’s my breakfast? Where’s my dinner?’ Never any of that, which I believed would have changed had we married.”
Winfrey adds: “Both he and I now say, ‘If we had married, we would not be together’.
“No question about it — we would not stay married, because of what that would have meant to him, and I would have had my own ideas about it.”
Winfrey’s decisions to not marry or have children are ones she still stands by today, explaining that she has “filled that maternal fold” with charitable work.
“I have not had one regret about that,” Winfrey explained.
“I also believe that part of the reason why I don’t have regrets is because I got to fulfil it in the way that was best for me: the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa,” she says.
“Those girls fill that maternal fold that I perhaps would have had. In fact, they overfill — I’m overflowed with maternal."